20 Indispensable Resources for Solo Travelers
Traveling alone can be daunting, especially if it is your first time. But there is really no need to fear. Quite the contrary; traveling solo can be a very enriching experience. And thanks to modern technology, there are numerous resources out there to help you get started. While some websites provide forums for you to discuss your doubts, others will even go as far as helping you find a mate to travel with.
Here are 20 indispensable resources for solo travelers:
According to CSTN’s mission statement, the site has three main purposes:
- “to encourage hospitality and networking, internationally, among people who travel without a partner.
- to report without bias about going solo vacation alternatives or any holiday option that can be designated sensitive towards the needs of people who travel alone.
- to foster the above concepts within the ideals of responsible tourism.”
As such, it provides a series of services and publications so that you can plan your solo holiday, including Reader Reports, Travel Tales and general tips for traveling independently. Though CSTN can help you avoid paying single supplements, it is not a travel agency; it simply scouts out the best options for solo travelers.
There is a membership fee to join, currently priced at $28 for a one-time registration. This will give you access to the “Member Index” including the “Single-Friendly Travel Directory,” “Going Solo Tips” and “Going Solo Tales.” Moreover, you have access to password protected, member-only information, including a calendar of “singles only” tours and cruises (over 400 trips listed at any given time). In addition, you get permission to view archived travel reports and can also participate in the sister website, “CSTN Friends in Travel” discussion board.
Solotravel.org is a resource addressing all aspects of solo travel. In addition to comprehensive general travel articles, the site also provides detailed solo travel backpacker country guides for destinations all over the world. In the Solo Directory, you will find a plethora of articles about different kinds of solo travel, whether it be going on a cruise or backpacking. Detailed travel advice is found in the Travel Tips section, and there is a specific category just dedicated to money and budget. Travel safety and humor are two further sections, and last but not least, the site provides links to great solo travel books and further resources. If you, too, would like to tell your own story about traveling solo, you have come to the right place here; solotravel.org is now accepting submissions.
For over 30 years, Transitions Abroad has made a mission of publishing stories about life abroad – inclusive of traveling, studying, working, volunteering or any other kind of educational activity. Solo travel is often a part of educational activity abroad, and the site has a whole portal dedicated to Independent Travel and another specifically to Solo Woman Travel. The site prides itself on offering first-hand reports and advice. Two good articles to get started include: Solo Travel: Choosing Where to Go and Travel Tips for Solo Travelers. Both are written by long time solo travelers.
AllSinglesTravel.com has been around since 1996 and offers quality vacations for single travelers at an affordable price; that is, without paying the dreaded “single supplement.” Thus unlike the three websites above, AllSinglesTravel.com is not a resource but a source; a way for the solo traveler to meet and travel with other fun singles. In addition, the site organizes custom-made trips for groups, too. The average age of travelers is 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This year’s trips can be seen on the main site, and, in addition to the standard trips open to all, include specific trips for Jewish singles, Christian singles and Senior singles. To get a feel for what a trip with AllSinglesTravel.com is like, visit the blog and the photo album.
Like AllSinglesTravel.com, SinglesTravelIntl.com is a travel agency. They have over 25 years of travel consulting experience, specializing in providing worry free travel for upscale travelers worldwide and now catering to the growing market of solo travelers. The company’s trips are always accompanied by at least one Singles Travel International escort to maintain the integrity of the program. In their mission statement, they make it very clear that everyone has a chance to get as involved as they’d like to in the “group” experience, and that there is always plenty of free time to explore on your own.
To view the current trips, check out the website, where you can choose from regular trips to cruises to weekend escapes. Adventures such as rafting are a further option. Destinations range all over the world; from the Isle of Crete to nearby Chicago. Note that while you save money on the single supplement, the company does cater to more upscale travelers and prices are set accordingly.
SafeCheckIn is a service that provides you with the security of someone making sure that you return safely from any activity outside of your home. Here is how it works: when you leave, you “check out,” providing SafeCheckIn with the information as to where you are going, what you are going to do, and when you are scheduled to arrive back home. The website then monitors your account until you check back in safely.
Should you be late, SafeCheckIn will start a process to notify your emergency contacts and/or local authorities so that they can find you. No matter which activity you are going to do – skiing, hiking or just traveling – you have someone there looking out for you.
SafeCheckIn is currently priced at $8.99 for a month or $21.99 for a 3-month membership. They are also offering a limited time One Year membership for $75. This includes 24/7/365 human monitoring and unlimited use.
A Wandering Sole is run by Laura Walker; in 2010, she took an 8-month journey around the world and now uses her blog “to reveal that underneath drastic cultural differences, there is a common bond among us all.” Walker traveled solo as she “ran to the lowest point on Earth (the Dead Sea), tracked gorillas in Rwanda, climbed a volcano in DR Congo, went on a few safaris, got blessed by a monk, hit by a motorcycle, hitchhiked 500km., volunteered in Kenya, Malawi, and Thailand, danced the night away in Barcelona, and explored Petra…. just to name a few.” Her wanderings are sure to inspire you to go abroad by yourself, too.
Aleah Taboclaon subtitles her blog “Tales and tips of a solo traveler,” which is exactly what it is. She is an avid traveler, who hopes to “work and travel” some day. Her interest in human rights infuses her travel writing every once in a while, and her solo wanderings are an inspiration for those who want to hit the road alone, too. She writes, “I like traveling solo for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the opportunity to push myself and see how far I can go relying only on myself.”
“All You Need to Travel is You.” This is the motto that Solo Friendly goes by. It is a blog run by Gray Cargill, who describes herself as a “native Vermonter, and an unabashed fan of solo travel.” She explains that she started out traveling alone because she had time and the wish to do so, while none of her friends did. Instead of not traveling, she decided to go for it and ever since then, has been trying to motivate others to do the same. Her website has been mentioned in numerous media outlets, from Frommers.com to the LA Times, and her tips are very useful to those who are planning (or even just considering) a trip abroad alone.
Don’t get Janice Waugh wrong; she loves her family. It’s just that she loves traveling solo, too. She is known in the blogosphere as Solo Traveler, which is also the title of her blog. But really, she has enjoyed many styles of travel in her life, from traveling alone to traveling as a couple, to traveling as a family. When her husband passed away, she started traveling solo again, and the outcomes of her travels are recorded in her blog. If you’re looking to become savvy with respect to solo travel, be sure to check out her tips on skills and safety. Janice has put together several e-books, like The Solo Traveler’s Handbook and Travel Alone and Love It.
11. Ott’s World
Sherry Ott left the corporate world in 2006 and hasn’t looked back since. Her original intent was to take a career break and recharge from her gig in IT, but one year has suddenly turned into seven, and she has no plans on stopping. Co-founder of Meet, Plan, Go!, Sherry inspires other professionals to question what it is they’re doing with their daily lives. She suggests taking a break, and using travel to help find out what you want out of life. Sherry has mostly traveled solo, writing, “I now continue to wander the world solo without a home. I still teach occasionally, do freelance work, housesit, volunteer, and anything else that sounds exciting and comes with a bed. Sometimes it’s great, and sometimes it’s not so great; it’s just my nomadic life.”
12. Traveling Solo, 5th: Advice and Ideas for More than 250 Great Vacations by Eleanor Berman
Sometimes, we like having a physical book in our hands. Berman’s easy-to-use book is a perfect one to buy if you are considering going away alone. As the title already says, it provides more than 250 ideas for inspiration. Moreover, the ideas are varied and can apply to a diverse range of ages, budgets, interests and tastes. After all, singles may have the common factor of traveling alone, but in the end, everybody travels differently. Berman’s book shows that solo travel can take on a myriad of forms, which is another reason that makes it so exciting.
13. Travel Alone and Love It: A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Solo Travel by Sharon B. Wingler
Flight attendants see the world differently. Wingler worked (and traveled, obviously) for 26 years in the business, and her experiences have provided her with more than enough material to write an effective guide to solo travel. She includes tips on travel planning, travel protocol, and jet lag, which in essence could apply to anyone traveling, whether alone or not. Then, however, there are also specific sections devoted to traveling solo, which according to Wingler provides more opportunities to meet and interact with locals as well as other fellow travelers and offers a more unique and memorable travel experience. She specifically addresses the fears people associate with traveling abroad alone, and provides resources that can help in emergency situations.
Specifically for women
Solo Lady is dedicated not only to traveling alone, but living alone in more general terms. It seeks to help single women everywhere “realize and enjoy the many options and opportunities of living solo.” Solo Lady takes the fear out of being alone, and provides regular advice columns as well as humorous personal stories on living and traveling alone. It is run by Lea Lane, who has authored six books, including one titled Solo Traveler.
15. Lost Girls World
The Lost Girls became famous when their book came out about 3 young professional women who ditched their fast-paced New York City lifestyles to hit the road. You can keep updated on their adventures on the Lost Girls World site, which includes a blog dedicated to motivating other girls to travel the world, too. Part of the site addresses solo travel, such as my own article Girls taking on the world – alone!
Sabina, the girl behind the Solo Female Traveler blog, is a widely published writer. Her blog has a more casual tone and tells entertaining and inspiring stories of her travels, both close to home and across the world. In her words, “I’ve been traveling almost exclusively solo since my Twenties and it immediately sat well with me. Maybe I’m selfish or maybe I’m just honest, but traveling solo allows me to do what I want, when I want and how I want, with no one to whom be beholden. It gives me freedom to explore, freedom to delve into the cultures I want to get to know, freedom to leave somewhere I’m not liking all that much as well as the freedom to stay as long as I want if I’m really loving a certain place. Traveling solo gives me the freedom to be me.”
She’s another powerful woman who takes the fear out of going abroad alone.
17. Adventurous Kate
Kate McCulley is convinced that life is too short to have regrets. She’s been shipwrecked in Indonesia, has danced with Vanilla Ice on South Padre Island, has hit on Jon Stewart in New York City (a stint that subsequently got her mocked on The Daily Show), and has starred as an extra in a really bad German movie. Her life is full of adventures, as the name of her blog already puts it. Though she is now engaged, up until recently, she has traveled alone, and her blog provides the details on how you, too, can follow in her footsteps. The degree to which you want to experience adventures as she does is up to you, but she is sure to provide you with some good ideas to get started.
18. Women Traveling
If pages such as Singles Travel International provide tours and excursions for solo travelers in general, this website is dedicated to offering trips for women traveling alone. Specifically, they focus on small group travel with about 15 other women. The tours are open to women of all ages. All tours are guided and destinations range from domestic trips to international ones. Check out the website for details on what is planned for this year and beyond.
19. Wanderlust and Lipstick: The Essential Guide for Women Traveling Solo by Beth Whitman
With Wanderlust and Lipstick, Beth Whitman made a big hit in the women’s travel publications niche. As the two words already tell, Whitman is convinced that wanderlust does not mean going without lipstick and that in essence, a female traveling can be beautiful, no matter her budget. Her book is a staple for any female looking to go abroad solo, and you can find more resources on her site Wanderlustandlipstick.com.
“The Premier Travel Resource for Women” reads the slogan of this website. Journeywoman.com was one of the first sites devoted to female solo travel, and includes general tips as well as personal stories. If you are inspired, you can even submit your own. The founder of Journeywoman is Evelyn Hannon, and she is going strong since creating a mailing list for Journeywoman back before the internet was even around. The site now is the modern incarnation of that initial idea. She is an inspiration not only for solo women travelers, not only for solo travelers, but for all travelers.
After you’ve read through all of the above, there really should not be any reason for you to experience fears or problems to travel abroad alone. On the contrary, you should have enough inspiring ideas to travel solo for a lifetime. Now all you need to do is get started.
Read more about solo travel:
- Seven Solo Female Travel Myths Debunked
- Solo Travel: The Pros and Cons
- 12 Ways to Combat the Solo Traveler Blues
- 13 Reasons to Travel Solo